Notes: Tracy back in lineup
Third baseman feels prolonged ribcage pain is thing of past
PHOENIX -- Chad Tracy returned once again from a strained ribcage on Sunday.Unlike last time, when the third baseman played four games after missing six in early May, his three-plus weeks on the disabled list have cleared any hesitation in his mind that his injured ribs have healed. Last month he tried to play through the pain, but now he feels better even when doing everyday activities. "Even just rolling around in bed it feels better," Tracy said. "There's a big difference. [There's] nothing even in the back of my mind anymore. Now I can just focus on playing." In three rehab games at Triple-A Tucson Tracy showed his health, hitting .467 (7-for-15) with a home run, two doubles and four RBIs. He immediately found himself in the cleanup spot in his return Sunday. Now manager Bob Melvin has the tough task of finding playing time for Tracy, third baseman Mark Reynolds, and first baseman Conor Jackson, with Tracy having the ability to play first. Reynolds has cooled off considerably after a hot start, but Melvin said he was never a candidate to be sent down. After hitting .426 with four home runs and 15 RBIs in his first 15 games, he has hit .188 without any homers or RBIs in his last eight contests entering Sunday. Jackson has been hot in his last 15 games, hitting .383 with two home runs and 12 RBIs. Melvin plans to rotate the players depending on who's hot, who's pitching for the opponent and what his defense will look like. "We're just going to have to match it up," Melvin said. "We do the best we can. Like today, Mark's not in there, Tracy's in there, Conor's over at first. In the American League we can do some things a little bit differently because of the DH (next week) and see how it plays out through those six games there, and then we get home, we're going to have to figure out what we can do again. There's no set formula." Melvin said it's a mixed blessing to have three players capable of starting at a corner infield spot, not to mention ace pinch-hitter Tony Clark. "You want to keep everyone involved, yet you still have to run your best lineup out there," Melvin said, "so if someone gets there feelings hurt because they aren't playing much, that can be the bad side of it."
Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.